In 2016, The Parkway Shopping Centre, Coulby Newham launched the Parkway Neighbourhood Fund (PNF) to support community-led projects local to the Centre.
Ellandi, owners of the Parkway Shopping Centre teamed up with the Thirteen Group and Middlesbrough Council and created Project Dirt with a grant pot of £18,000.
Thirty applications were gathered from projects tackling social and environment issues within a 10-mile radius and nine were chosen to receive up to £2,000 to kick start their venture.
Now, two years later, local community group – Kinship Carers, have been awarded an additional £2,000.00 from The Parkway Shopping Centre.
Kinship Carers are a group who look after their grandchildren but get no funding at all – originally applied for £1,350 funding to purchase computers to enable them to set up a focus group and start spreading the word about Kinship Carers.
“Over the last few years, I have worked with most of the groups we provided funds for but the one that has stuck out and I have made a real connection with is Kinship Carers,” says Zoe France, Manager of the Parkway Shopping Centre. ‘Frank and Liz Stanton – who founded the Kinship Carers – are inspirational people who work with lots of the grandparents that have found themselves in poverty through taking on their grandchildren,” continues Zoe, they are offered no financial support from central government and so are finding themselves in financial hardship and some are being forced to foodbanks to be able to provide basic essential.”
One of Kinship Carers main aims was to find premises they could utilise to set up a Wellbeing Centre for all Kinship Carers across Teesside to meet each other but also to meet with key stakeholders within the community such as Local Health Dept, school nurses and other service providers who can advise them and support them with their grandchildren. Charwood House in, Thorntree Middlesbrough has become available and so Charwood Kinship Carers has been formed.
Frank Stanton says” This is the second biggest donation we have received In 3 years, it will make such a difference to us we promise we will stretch it a long way, we have set up a craft room for the kids, we have a meeting place with all the facilities to hold meetings and have diarised several activites throughout the year that will make a huge difference to the children and the grandparents, we really do appreciate all of the support from the Parkway and the continued support from Zoe to raise funds and awareness of Kinship Carers”
“This is fantastic,” continues Zoe “the group now have a base “We wish them the very best of luck and success in their venture which we feel certain will be a real benefit to families in the area.”